Oooooh boy. So this one took me awhile to get into again. I think a lot of people are big fans of how each book tends to start with this sort of long chapter that focuses on people we don’t know and won’t likely see again (or see much of any time soon). I … am not. I think in retrospect those chapters are an interesting way to set the tone of the book, but it also means that I’m going to really need to struggle to get through it to get to the characters that I know and love.
Without getting into further detail on this, I have to say that while I don’t think book was as full of “HOLY SHIT” moments as book three, it still definitely has some very strong and shocking moments. I didn’t really realize it until the end, but Mr. Martin only tells the next chapters for about half of the well-known characters in this book. I won’t say which ones, but there’s a cute little note at the end, where he says that he could have either told half of everyone’s stories, or a book’s worth of half the stories, so the next one (book five, which thankfully is already out) should tell what was going on with the rest of the characters during this time.
I think there’s definitely some good character development in this one, especially for one character (I won’t say which because given the propensity for people to get killed, it seems like mentioning that someone is still alive is now considered a spoiler), who I think Mr. Martin has done just a fabulous job with. I want to get started on the next book, especially before season five (plus I really want to go back and read Joanna Robinson’s spoiler posts from Pajiba), but at over 1000 pages I think I need to take a break before tackling that tome.